The objective of the present study was to investigate the time to fatigue and compare the fatiguing condition among the three heads of the triceps brachii muscle using surface electromyography during an isometric contraction of a controlled forceful hand grip task with full elbow extension. Eighteen healthy subjects concurrently performed a single 90 s isometric contraction of a controlled forceful hand grip task and full elbow extension. Surface electromyographic signals from the lateral, long and medial heads of the triceps brachii muscle were recorded during the task for each subject. The changes in muscle activity among the three heads of triceps brachii were measured by the root mean square values for every 5 s period throughout the total contraction period. The root mean square values were then analysed to determine the fatiguing condition for the heads of triceps brachii muscle. Muscle fatigue in the long, lateral, and medial heads of the triceps brachii started at 40 s, 50 s, and 65 s during the prolonged contraction, respectively. The highest fatiguing rate was observed in the long head (slope = -2.863), followed by the medial head (slope = -2.412) and the lateral head (slope = -1.877) of the triceps brachii muscle. The results of the present study concurs with previous findings that the three heads of the triceps brachii muscle do not work as a single unit, and the fiber type/composition is different among the three heads.
Keywords: isometric contraction; muscle fatigue; surface electromyography; triceps brachii muscle.